Lyttleton Constitution Of 1954 | Significant Provisions, Demerits & Merits

Lyttleton Constitution Highlights The shortcomings of MacPherson’s constitution led to two constitutional conferences in 1953 and 1954, held in London and Lagos, resulting in the Lyttleton Constitution of October 1954. Key features and significant changes introduced by the Lyttleton Constitution include: First Federal Constitution: It marked Nigeria’s adoption of its initial federal constitution. Governor Titles: […]

Lyttleton Constitution Highlights

The shortcomings of MacPherson’s constitution led to two constitutional conferences in 1953 and 1954, held in London and Lagos, resulting in the Lyttleton Constitution of October 1954. Key features and significant changes introduced by the Lyttleton Constitution include:

  1. First Federal Constitution: It marked Nigeria’s adoption of its initial federal constitution.
  2. Governor Titles: The lieutenant governors of the regions were now addressed as Governors, with the overall head designated as the Governor-General of the federation.
  3. Creation of Regional Premiers: The establishment of the office of regional premiers was a notable development.
  4. Regionalization: Public service, marketing boards, and the judiciary were regionalized.
  5. Law-Making Powers: Regional legislatures were endowed with the authority to enact laws.
  6. Reduction in Numbers: There was a decrease in the number of officials and appointed members in central and regional legislatures and executive councils
  7. No Prime Ministerial Office: The constitution did not provide for the office of the prime minister.
  8. Powers Division: It clearly outlined the division of powers between the central and regional governments.
  9. Revenue Sharing Revision: The revenue-sharing formula underwent a revision.
  10. Southern Cameroon Provision: Administrative and legislative provisions were granted to Southern Cameroon.

 

Significant Provisions Of The Lyttleton Constitution

  1. Federal House of Representatives: A central legislative body with 184 members elected on a single-member constituency basis.
  2. Federal Council of Ministers: Comprising the Governor-General, official members, regional ministers, and one from Southern Cameroon.
  3. Regional Executive Councils: Premiers were appointed leaders of the majority party, with regional governors presiding over executive meetings.
  4. Regional Legislatures: Retained bi-cameral features for Northern and Western Assemblies and a unicameral legislature for the East.
  5. Division of Powers: Powers were divided between central and regional governments through exclusive, concurrent, and residual lists.

 

Demerits Of Lyttleton’s Constitution

  1. No Prime Ministerial Provision: Failure to establish the office of the prime minister.
  2. Single Chamber: Lack of a second chamber in the Federal Legislative House.
  3. Party Leaders Exclusion: Major political party leaders were not part of the Council of Ministers.
  4. Imbalance Addressing Failure: The constitution did not rectify the North-South population imbalance.
  5. Uniform Electoral System Absence: No provision for a uniform electoral system.
  6. Veto Power: The Governor-General and regional governors retained veto powers.
  7. Strengthening Regions: Regionalization of the public service empowered regions over the central government.

 

Merits Of Lyttleton’s Constitution

  1. Federal Structure Introduction: Pioneered the federal structure in Nigeria.
  2. Establishment of Speaker and Deputy Speaker Offices: Introduced these positions in federal and regional legislatures.
  3. Direct Elections: Instituted direct elections in federal and regional legislatures.
  4. Ministerial Leadership: Ministers became heads of departments.
  5. Civil Service and Judicial Administration Dualism: Created dual civil service and judicial administration.
  6. Regional Separation: Distinct recognition of Lagos and Southern Cameroon from the West and East.
  7. Status Elevation: Elevated the titles of Governor to Governor-General and Lieutenant to Governors.
  8. Independence Preparation: Effectively prepared Nigeria for eventual independence.
  9. Empowered Regional Legislatures: Granted substantial law-making powers to regional legislatures.
  10. Clear Powers Division: Provided a clear-cut division of powers between the central and regional governments.

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